Portal:Speculative fiction/Horror

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Horror fiction is a genre of fiction in any medium intended to scare, unsettle and horrify the audience. Historically, the cause of the "horror" experience has often been the intrusion of a disturbing supernatural element into everyday human experience. Since the 1960s, any work of fiction with a morbid, gruesome, surreal, or exceptionally suspenseful or frightening theme has come to be called "horror". Horror fiction often overlaps science fiction or fantasy, all three categories of which are sometimes placed under the umbrella classification speculative fiction.

Haunting is sometimes used as a plot device in horror fiction and paranormal-based fiction. Legends about haunted houses have long appeared in literature. For example, the Arabian Nights tale of "Ali the Cairene and the Haunted House in Baghdad" revolves around a house haunted by djinns. The influence of the Arabian Nights on modern horror fiction is certainly discernible in some of the work of H. P. Lovecraft.

Achievements in horror fiction are recognized by numerous awards. The Horror Writer's Association presents the Bram Stoker Awards for Superior Achievement, named in honor of Bram Stoker, author of the seminal horror novel Dracula. The Australian Horror Writers Association presents annual Australian Shadows Awards. The International Horror Guild Award was presented annually to works of horror and dark fantasy from 1995 to 2008. Other important awards for horror literature are as subcategories included within general awards for fantasy and science fiction in such awards as the Aurealis Award.

Zombies are a popular feature in many horror works.

Selected horror profile

James Whale (22 July 1889 – 29 May 1957) was an English film director, theater director and actor, who spent the greater part of his career in Hollywood. He is best remembered for several horror films: Frankenstein (1931), The Old Dark House (1932), The Invisible Man (1933) and Bride of Frankenstein (1935), all considered classics. Whale also directed films in other genres, including the 1936 film version of the musical Show Boat. He became increasingly disenchanted with his association with horror, and many of his non-horror films have fallen into obscurity.

At the height of his career as a director, Whale directed The Road Back (1937), a sequel to All Quiet on the Western Front. He was openly gay throughout his career, something that was very unusual in the 1920s and 1930s. As knowledge of his sexual orientation has become more common, some of his films, Bride of Frankenstein in particular, have been interpreted as having a gay subtext and it has been claimed that his refusal to remain in the closet led to the end of his career.

Selected horror work

Michael Myers is a fictional character from the Halloween series of slasher films. He first appears in John Carpenter's Halloween (1978) as a young boy who murders his older sister, then fifteen years later returns home to murder more teenagers. In the original Halloween, the adult Michael Myers, referred to as The Shape in the closing credits, was portrayed by Nick Castle for most of the film, with Tony Moran and Tommy Lee Wallace substituting in during the final scenes. He was created by Debra Hill and John Carpenter. Michael Myers has appeared in eight films, as well as novels, a video game and several comic books.

The character is the primary antagonist in the Halloween film series, except Halloween III: Season of the Witch, which was not connected in continuity to the rest of the films. Since Castle, Moran, and Wallace put on the mask in the original film, six people have stepped into the role. There have been no actors to portray the character in consecutive films, with a new actor filling the role in each succeeding film; only one actor has portrayed the character more than once. Michael Myers is characterized as pure evil, whether directly in the films, by the filmmakers who created and developed the character over eight films, or random participants in a survey.